Normative analysis is thus integrally built into any understanding of politics. To judge a political system, we need to ask not only how power or persuasion is used but whether it is being used legitimately. To make such a judgment, political science needs both close empirical observation and a philosophical probing of ideals. Recognizing the role of normative judgment, political science alone among the social sciences has nourished its apparatus for investigating normative ideals as well as its apparatus for investigating empirical data.
In the philosophical arena, the most influential recent investigations have tended to see politics as concerned only with legitimate persuasion and not with legitimate power. In the empirical arena, the most influential modern investigations have until recently tended to see politics as concerned only with power and not with persuasion. For the future, an integrated investigation of both normative ideals and the empirical workings of government requires the two branches of research to widen their scope to include the study of both power and persuasion.
Portions of this chapter were adapted from "A Deliberate Theory of Interest Representation" in The politics of Interests: Interest Groups Transformed, edited by Mark P. Petracca ( Westview, 1992).
Ordinary language does not produce an airtight distinction between "power" and "persuasion." A broad conception of power, as A getting B to do something that B would not otherwise do through any means, includes persuasion. Moreover, in practice it is hard to distinguish between A threatening B with an external social sanction, which under my definition would count as "power," and A activating within B an internal sanction (e.g., B's own feeling of guilt), which under my definition would count as "persuasion." Although these concepts shade into one another in ordinary usage and in practice, normative political judgments and longterm predictions of behavior rest on the distinction between the two.